Caro is the prefect for Class 5 at the Fountains of Hope primary school. This twelve-year-old entertains no nonsense and her peers call her ‘the governor’. Caro is the youngest of four siblings who lost their parents when Caro was very young. They came to live in Kibera with an aunt who already had three children of her own. Her own children suffer with a skin condition that requires frequent treatment and she herself is diabetic. Caro’s aunt is a hero, caring as best she can for seven children in their tiny home in Kibera.
16-year-old Harrison* is the first born of five. Much of his childhood was spent on the Kenyan coast in Mombasa until his father died. His mother sought the help of their grandfather who lives in Kibera and now the five children live in Kibera with their grandad while their mother returned to Mombasa.
When our social workers visited their one-roomed home they found two beds covered in clothes as make-shift mattresses. There was little else in the room – no furniture, no cooking stove. The grandfather would buy food from small cafes and kiosks in the slum as they had nowhere to cook at home.
This desk represents the journey of a young man whose path crossed ours many years ago and whose journey thus far has caused us great joy.
Frank , now 21,came to us as a young boy who could barely read, write and expressing himself was a challenge. He joined Turning Point in Class 4 and first went through our transition class to prepare him for formal schooling as he had missed a few years of schooling. The transition journey was definitely an uphill task but he finally joined primary school. However, due to the poor foundation he had prior to joining our education program, Frank did not perform so well in his final primary exam.
He was determined to not let what would seemingly appear as a major obstacle stop him. He, with Turning Point’s support, began a course in mechanics that took a year. Life would however reveal that his passion did not lie in mechanics and when he stumbled upon carpentry, his passion was ignited.
Frank recently visited Fountain of Hope primary school and he came bearing gifts, a desk and a chair. A very timely gift as we expand to full capacity next year. Full capacity means that we will finally become a full primary school next year and we will have the first class sitting the National Primary exams.
His visit reminded us that the work we do has the ability to change the lives of the children who come our way and when we do all we can do to inspire these children to never give up on themselves, great things can happen.
‘Be bold and be brave and tell yourself, ‘I can do this!’’
These were the words of Pastor Henry Muteti of Nairobi Mission Church this morning as he addressed the students of Fountains of Hope School.
Pastor Henry visited with his wife Rachel to present medals and gifts to the top performing students in the school.
This week I have been in Kenya again with Turning Point. This is probably something like my 6th visit, and yet as I reflect on it I realise that I am coming away even more inspired and humbled than ever before. In this short reflection I will try to capture something of the essence of that.
Malala Yousafzai, the impressive child activist said, ‘let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.’
Today I want to celebrate our excellent teaching team at the Fountains of Hope School and the impact they are having on our pupils in Kibera. As we start the new school year in Kenya, we have been looking back over our pupil’s progress in 2016. At the same time, we’ve been receiving KCPE results from pupils we support in local government primary schools.
Back in 2012 we asked our supporters to help us send David Ombisa to nursing school. We were amazed by the response that covered his fees and in September 2012, we dropped off an excited and nervous young Ombisa to begin the rigorous course.
Last Saturday we had the great honour of attending Ombisa’s graduation. He is now a fully qualified nurse!
Miles* left his home in the slums and lived on the streets froma young age. He sniffed glue and drank illicit brew and became addicted. He was arrested on several occasions and his life was in ruins. But his life was turned around when he heard what people were saying about him and he decided to change.
Yes, the Fountains of Hope school is closing this early for the Christmas Holidays! Today we packed out the school hall with parents, teachers and students to celebrate a great year, to thank the parents for their partnership and congratulate the children on their progress.